Shonda Rhymes is about a “charming” chance to have her own doll

Provided by Barbie / Mattel

As we recently shared with you, writer and producer Shonda Rhimes was honored with the iconic Mattel Barbie brand with her own doll “Role Models”. on the eve of International Women’s Day (March 8). But more than the fact that she is one of the lucky ones to go down in history as a Barbie doll, Rimes is collaborating with Barbie to help inspire young girls to big dreams.

They work together as part Barbie Dream Gap The project is a multi-year initiative to raise awareness of the factors that prevent girls from realizing their full potential. Announced in 2018, it aims to show that already at the age of five, some girls are less likely than their male counterparts to consider their gender reasonable and may begin to lose confidence in their intelligence. These beliefs may be compounded by cultural stereotypes, lack of self-representation in the media, and implicit bias, among others.

To help bridge the dream gap, Barbie seeks to share stories of inspiring women to help young girls dream more. The Rhymes doll helps in this, but also learning things that helped her stay invigorated and motivated to make her dreams come true. ESSENCE had the opportunity to talk to the woman behind the show who made such a big mark in the culture to hear how she found the courage to implement her ideas and learn about the people whose influence helped along the way.

ESSENCE: What were your role models – and those you knew personally, and public figures?

Shonda Rimes: I was really lucky in terms of role models. I have wonderful parents. I have amazing mothers and fathers who truly, truly believed in me in every way, form and form, I and my five siblings. We all really believed. But I also had these wonderful role models on television. Oprah was on television. I’m from Chicago, so if you’re from Chicago, Oprah is a kind of religion. Oprah was on TV when I approached, and for me she was this woman who was unlike anyone else who captivated the world through television. I really found her awesome. I watched her every day.

Whoopi Goldberg was on Broadway, where she did her women’s show. I remember seeing it on one of the cable channels and thinking to myself: oh, you can write about anything. So I had it. Philisia Rashad was on television as the mother of America. There were a lot of women who were smart, worked, thought, amazing women who did great things that were constantly in front of my face on TV that I could see with my own eyes – not just the women in my family but the women in the world who were also there for everyone else.

Why did you work with Barbie to consider the importance of having strong women to emulate?

I thought that working with Barbie to create a doll is a great opportunity to present a completely different image of what a woman can be. Obviously, we can be anything. Obviously, we can look for either side. We can all be strong, smart and powerful and rule our world in any way we like – whether you are a mother, an astronaut or a television showrunner. I liked the idea of ​​presenting this vision as I was. All my life it never occurred to me that I would ever be a doll. It was a stunning concept for me when they even came to me. The opportunity to present this image to another young girl who does not necessarily see people like her is wonderful and exciting, and I am delighted to be able to do so.

Bearing in mind the Dream Gap, how did you find the courage to take some of the bold steps that allowed you to succeed and create projects that have had such an impact on culture?

I think the best thing about how I got to where I am is that being courageous as we all know is not a lack of fear, it’s that doing things even though that there is fear. I was just brought up in the belief that it doesn’t matter if you’re scared. It didn’t matter if it was something difficult. You belong in any room you are in. You can also do your best out of this situation. So for me it was about that. I wasn’t interested in other people’s opinions of who I could be and who I should be. I was interested in my own opinion in this regard. And it really comes down to how I was raised and who I was raised to believe I was. And I think for most young women this should be what they stick to. Believe in who you consider yourself to be, not in what other people tell you, what you are entitled to be.

What advice would you give not only to young girls, but even to young adult women who are dealing with self-doubt?

Self-doubt is just a story you tell yourself about your own capabilities. And the reality of the situation is that even though there are obstacles, even if things can be difficult, even if you can’t be sure that you will succeed, tell yourself that you will not succeed , you will not succeed anywhere. Telling yourself that you have the opportunity and the opportunity to succeed or look at something like a challenge is a way to move forward and fight for what you want. So for me, I always feel that self-doubt should be seen as a challenge to yourself to do something better or do better for yourself.

TOPICS: Barbie International Women’s Day Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhymes is about a “charming” chance to have her own doll

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